Remember how a few weeks ago I praised Leslie Eberhard’s writing for “What’s the Problem?” and called it the only episode of The New Class I actually like? Well, this episode is here to remind us that not even a good writer can always save an episode of this show because he’s the writer of this stupid episode.
We’re at Cal U this week, and I want to point out how horribly dated the stock footage used for the exterior is. I mean, check this out. First of all, this footage is so blantantly a different quality from the footage used for the rest of the episode. It’s obvious they weren’t shot by the same person at the same time. Second, keep in mind this season takes place in 1995. Everyone’s hair and clothes in this stock clip looks like they’re from the ’70s! They couldn’t even find something from the right decade to represent Cal U!Well, with even the first few seconds painfully oblivious to the rest of its conext, let’s check out the episode proper. We open inside Cal U, I assume at the restaurant Slater used to work at, where Rachel and Maria are determined to find an older man to fuck them or die trying. Mr. Belding, Tommy D, and R.J. soon join them, with Mr. Belding lecturing them that there will be no statutory rape on this trip so they best be putting on their nun habits so they can get to doing what they came there for, whatever the hell that is.
Really, what are they randomly doing at a college in a city 380 miles away from Bayside? It’s never really explained in the episode other than they’re there to sit in on random classes. I know, it’s a lame excuse to have more out of the classroom episodes since those worked so well last season, but it’s still pretty inexplicable.
Uh, last episode Tommy D and Ryan were still in a rivalry for Lindsay. When did she suddenly become close enough to Ryan that they’re practicing CPR on each other in the middle of a college? Oh, god…it’s an out of order episode, isn’t it? Oh, sweet Jesus, please tell me the chronology of this season won’t be as fucked up as the last season! I can only imagine, though, that people were thoroughly confused by this in 1995 and wondering why Lindsay was suddenly such a whore. There’s no time for that, though, because Screech comes in and is practically orgasming over being back at Cal U after being there for a season in an unsuccessful spin-off. There’s no attempt to explain his status at Cal U. I mean, he should be in his junior year of college but he’s been at Bayside instead for the last two seasons.
Screech wants to take the gang to his old fraternity house, Sigma Alpha. So this actually did happen on The College Years. I don’t normally watch episodes before I review them but, I figured that I should be aware of what happened before I reviewed this episode. You see, in the episode “Rush Week,” Zack Morris and Slater wanted to join Sigma Alpha. Screech kept tagging along and fucking things up for them by making balloon animals at frat parties…yeah no joke. Leslie, whom we’ll meet later this year, made them feel guilty for ditching Screech to join a fraternity, so, when Sigma Alpha wanted Zack Morris and Slater as pledges but not Screech because Screech is fucking stupid, they refused to join. Well, in a case of plot contrivance, Sigma Alpha decided they wanted Screech after all at the end of the episode and he joined the fraternity without Zack Morris and Slater.
Ironically, the real Sigma Alpha is an agricultural sorority, which helps to explain why Zack Morris and Slater wanted to join so badly. They wanted some hot farm girls.
Like Rachel and Maria picking up guys. Yeah, Maria dumps the group to go after hot guys who are too old for her, while Rachel meets Michael Bradford in the psychology class they’re shadowing. Michael happens to be one of Screech’s old frat brothers, and Screech is disturbed to find that, not only is Michael picking up Rachel instead of him, but Michael seems to have blocked Screech out completely. We should all be so lucky.
The class professor comes in and says that they will be studying hypnosis today. I could be wrong but is hypnosis really a topic of study for a college psychology class? Whatever the case, Tommy D, Lindsay, and Ryan volunteer to be hypnotized and the professor basically does a stage hypnotist show by making the three first feel cold, then sad, and finally as if they’re on a roller coaster. He brings Ryan and Lindsay out of their trance but tells them that, when he snaps his fingers, they will fall in love with the first person they see.
While Ryan falls for Rachel. Yeah, knowing what happens next year, I can’t help but wonder if there were lingering side effects to the hypnosis. He snaps his fingers again and they go back to normal. He then remembers that Tommy D is still on stage, though it’s easy to see why he forgot considering one could easily mistake Tommy D for a support beam. The professor snaps Tommy D out of his trance with no further instructions.
The professor dismisses the class and Michael decides to hit on Rachel some more while Screech tries to take the gang to the frat house. Mr. Belding gets excited and snaps his fingers, making Tommy D fall in love with him, but snaps them again, bringing him back to normal. Jesus Christ, The New Class writers, did you forget that the professor gave no further instructions to Tommy D? Yeah, and it’s going to pop up again and again the rest of the episode.
At the Sigma Alpha house, no one gives a damn about Screech. No one remembers Screech except one guy who swears Screech begged them to pledge him. Uh, no. Nothing remotely like that happened. I just watched the episode!
He sees Maria playing pool and decides it’s time to hit on her so he can be a creep twice in one day. Meanwhile, Lindsay suggests Screech show them all his old room. Well, then you’ll need to leave the frat house and go to the dorm because SCREECH NEVER FUCKING LIVED IN THE FRAT HOUSE! He lived in the dorms with Zack Morris and Slater with the girls next door! That was the whole setup of The College Years! God, I hate this show.
Speaking of dorms, it seems the gang is staying in the old The College Years dorm set because we cut to the common room where Rachel and Maria both brag about fucking a guy named Michael. They assume Michael is a common name at Cal U and go about their business.
Meanwhile, Screech is still sulking that, in the absence of Zack Morris, Slater, and Kelly, no one at Cal U gives a shit about him. Screech says the fraternity was the biggest part of his time there. Uh, nineteen episodes of The College Years begs to differ. He sulks off to a room and Ryan decides it’s time to make Screech the most popular guy on campus.
Ryan’s plan is for R.J. to pretend to be some fuckable, likeable jock who’s considering going to Cal U. A couple Sigma Alpha boys invite R.J. to a party that night in the hopes that someone of his stature will grace their presence, and he agrees only if his hero, Screech, will be there. The Sigma Alpha guys, being completely gullible idiots, fall completely for his plan.
Meanwhile, someone snaps their fingers and Tommy D falls in love with the waitress. Another quick snap from a customer makes Tommy D realize how unattractive people in service industry jobs are, and he comes to his senses and runs away.
Later, Screech shows up to the frat party, and everyone is all about him because they think he inspired a jock. Um…I’m finding this slightly less believable at this point than the time a government agent mistook him for an alien.
Michael whispers bullshit to Maria about not being able to look at any other girl and hoping she’ll come to Cal U in two years when she’s legal and he’s graduated. He goes to get punch and Rachel walks in to hang out before her date with Michael.
Tommy D’s randomly arm wrestling one of the Sigma Alpha guys. Lindsay snaps her finger and Tommy D falls in love with the guy. Uh, this running gag wasn’t funny to begin with and now we’re running it into the ground by turning it into gay panic humor.
Rachel and Maria soon figure out that they’re both dating the same Michael. It shouldn’t surprise me that Rachel couldn’t figure this out sooner given how slow she was last season to realize Brian was helping her cheat. They have a mild disagreement over Michael and then…
Later, they all arrive back at the dorm, and Screech tells Mr. Belding that he realizes how much the frat needs him so he’s decided to quit his job at Bayside and go back to college.
Later, Mr. Belding bemoans the fact that Screech finally decided to finish his education. Ryan comes clean with Mr. Belding about why Screech is suddenly so popular. Mr. Belding tells them they need to tell him the truth so he won’t leave The New Class…
NO! LET HIM GO! Seriously, there’s already been a good episode this season! If Screech leaves, this show may stand a chance in hell of becoming a good show! Let him leave and never return!
No, they couldn’t do something sensible like that so Ryan, Lindsay, Tommy D, and R.J. go off to find Screech and tell him the truth. Just as they leave, Screech walks in with the two Sigma Alpha guys who want him to put in a good word with R.J. They soon have a brain cell go into action and realize that they’ve been tricked because they’re complete morons, so they vow to get revenge on Screech and the gang. They invite Screech and the gang to yet another frat party so they can make Screech president of the frat.
Meanwhile, Rachel and Maria end their mild disagreement by deciding that Michael’s just a misogynistically written character and they make up over the fight that never really happened in the episode.
They arrive at this meeting of the worst caricature in the history of this show. Seriously, this guy looks like he’s dressed as a person from that secret society in that one episode of The Simpsons. The frat gets out slime to dump on the seven of them, and they kindly wait until Ryan can explain the plot of the episode to him before they go after the gang. Screech decides that, since he has poor boundaries and no friends his own age, the gang are his friends.
The frat brothers start to go after the gang but one of them snaps their fingers and Tommy D falls in love with him. Disturbed that the dumbest member of the gang wants gay butt sex with him, he accidentally dumps slime on another frat brother. This starts a chain reaction where they all start sliming each other. Maria and Rachel decide to say goodbye to Michael in a fitting way and dump his slime all over him. Boy, they showed him. He’ll never be able to get that slime out of his shirt!
Screech thanks the gang for what they did for him and the episode closes with the gang running away before the frat brothers can find more slime to dump on them.
Thrilling episode. Just so exciting I tell you. I have one question: we know from “Goodbye Bayside, Part 2” that Zack Morris and Kelly are still in San Francisco. Why would they do a dumb ass episode like this rather than take advantage of the opportunity to have one or both of them make a cameo that actually makes sense? Oh, well. It’s The New Class. I should be glad they didn’t have the gang do a very special episode on the evils of fraternities.